The Football Association is weighing up whether to launch an investigation after an incident involving players from both sides towards the end of Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Liverpool.
Proceedings were briefly paused as Michael Oliver, the referee, ran to the touchline to speak with the managers, Mikel Arteta and Jürgen Klopp, during added time. It is understood to have referred to an argument that erupted inside the Liverpool penalty area and involved several players. Amid the fracas, Gabriel Magalhães was seen in heated discussion with Jordan Henderson and gesturing towards Oliver.
Oliver spoke again to both managers after the game and the matter has been referred to the FA, which will talk to the officials before deciding its next move. “We are aware of an incident that took place during the match between Arsenal and Liverpool,” an FA spokesperson said. “We are in dialogue with the match officials and will review the details of the incident.”
Klopp was left to count the triple cost of a defeat that he admits means Liverpool are “not in the title race”. His side are 14 points behind the leaders after their 3-2 reverse and suffered further blows with injuries to Trent Alexander‑Arnold and Luis Díaz that the manager admitted were “not good”.
Díaz departed before half‑time with a knee injury and Alexander‑Arnold followed at the break having attempted to play on after Gabriel Martinelli accidentally caught his right ankle. Both will go for scans and the stakes for Alexander-Arnold are particularly high. His place in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup thinking has been the subject of considerable conjecture and, having missed Euro 2020 through injury, a similar outcome this time would be a devastating blow for the 24-year-old player.
“Something with the knee, not good,” Klopp said of Díaz. “He will have a scan and then we will know more. I have no idea about the extent. On top of that Trent was bad as well with a twisted ankle. Not good. Trent never comes off, he can play on. He was in too much pain and it started swelling immediately. So he will have a scan.” Any long-term absences would deepen the gloom at Liverpool, who lost against Arsenal for only the second time in 20 meetings despite equalising twice.
They sit 10th with only two wins and this season increasingly looks like a battle simply to retain their Champions League spot, let alone any tilt at top spot.
“We’re not in the race,” he said of the title. “Imagine I would sit here and think: ‘We are nearly there, wait.’ We have problems at the moment but we caused the team in form, the leader of the table, massive problems today. We have to continue. Of course in a situation like ours, we play Rangers and then Man City [in the next week]. Is that the perfect opponent for finding confidence? Probably not but we will go out there and fight. That is what we have to do and what we will do.”
Klopp was unhappy with the penalty award that brought Bukayo Saka’s winner and suggested Gabriel Jesus had made too much of the challenge by Thiago Alcântara. “If I see the situation back, if there was contact, and I’m not sure there was, it might have been soft contact,” he said. “But the player was on both feet and then down. That’s an indication that something might have been made up.” He also suggested Liverpool should have been given a first-half penalty for handball by Magalhães.
Arteta, although visibly delighted at full-time, continued to dampen ideas that Arsenal are genuine title contenders. “On the day we play at our best we have a chance,” he said when asked if his team can beat anyone. “At the moment enjoy where we are, and play with the courage and the belief we played with in the second half and go step by step.”